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Transform a Public Space Project: The Top 5 Ideas

Education on the GO as submitted by Rumi Samadhan This content is brought to you by GOOD, with the support of the BMW Guggenheim Lab In June,...


Education on the GO as submitted by Rumi Samadhan

This content is brought to you by GOOD, with the support of the BMW Guggenheim Lab


In June, GOOD and the BMW Guggenheim Lab teamed up to announce the project Transform a Public Place, a call for ideas on how to make a public space in your city more comfortable.

The project closed on July 17 and we received more than 120 submissions with fascinating, groundbreaking and quirky ideas from 21 countries. We highlighted some of the innovative ideas we've received so far here, here and here. And now, we're excited to share the most inspiring ideas as selected by Maria Nicanor, curator of the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a mobile laboratory bringing together new ideas for improving urban life.

“The goal of the BMW Guggenheim Lab is to explore and inspire forward-thinking ideas for urban life,” said Nicanor. “We are thrilled by the response we received to the City Forward initiative from citizens around the world. The selected ideas were chosen for their originality, resourcefulness, and potential, and we are excited to see how they develop.” The BMW Guggenheim Lab will work with each of the selected designers to create and implement a plan to take their idea even further.


Idea: Ingrain Reclaimed Street Furniture Project

Submitted by: Rodrigo Caula

To recapture that lost feeling of connectedness with our environment, we set out to build a symbol of our city's metamorphosis. Through the reclamation of a 205-year-old Coastal Douglas-fir that had fallen late in 2011, our intention was to give it new life and to use its story as the foundation of a movement that seeks to better respect our precious resources. The symbolic representation of a fallen tree took the form of a public bench, which is currently on display on Granville Island in Vancouver, BC.


Idea: The Pavilion Harp

Submitted by: Wayne Switzer

The Pavilion Harp explores how a neglected pavilion located at the center of Monsignor McGolrick Park in Brooklyn, New York might be transformed into a unique musical instrument for local artists and the enjoyment of the public.

Similar to the bridge construction of most stringed instruments, A-shaped frames are held firmly against the ceiling of the existing pavilion by tensioned wires.

The resonance generated when these wires are ‘played’ travels into the ceiling cavity-transforming the entire pavilion body into an enormous acoustical instrument which can be heard throughout the park.

Artists from within the community can be invited to compose/perform works for this site-specific instrument- creating a new public venue for gathering in an outdoor surrounding.

Through this gentle intercession, new life is breathed into this existing unoccupied structure and the inherent music of this place is awakened.


Idea: Priority Seating for Conversation

Submitted by: Yen Trinh

Changing public transport seats into meaningful social spaces.

On public transport, typical signs designate “priority seating for the disabled” to help create a culture of courtesy. Similarly, for this project, signs designating “priority seating for people who want conversation” seeks to help create a culture of friendliness. Conversations in public spaces present endless possibilities to build connections, create community, and just make someone’s day a bit more interesting.

The signs can be expanded globally, with signage and conversations encouraged where ever the community wants.


Idea: Public2

Submitted by: Irene Guzman

On May 1st, 2010, food trucks converged on an empty parking lot in 1401 Santa Monica Boulevard. The empty asphalt became alive with people, vehicles and food trucks for hungry iPhone hipsters - the empty site became a "bona fide" public space.

However, the city of Santa Monica decided to shut down the joint and what was left behind a non-place at the crossroads of anywhere and whatever.

I was inspired by the way people gather in open spaces to design this public square; there is a tendency to keep a certain amount of distance from strangers. I used this interaction - or lack of interaction - as a way for the users to interact and, at the same time, create the architecture of the square. As people come in to ‘claim their space’, they move the strings to create shade during the day or place the movable lamps during the night; the space encourages neighbors to negotiate how the strings should be place for their enjoyment.


Idea: Education on the GO

Submitted by: Rumi Samadhan

This project will be executed in Dharavi (one of Asia’s largest slums) in Mumbai, India. Here, education is a way out of poverty. Thus, students can learn their ABCs, while frolicking. These are educational alphabetical tiles cemented on the ground with both regional languages and English for young Dharavi kids to learn while playing. Sing-along nursery song tiles / posters on the sides of the hut walls will provide the needed fun and education for the young ones. Some of the wall spaces could be utilized to color and wipe on the large coloring boards. Poem tiles will give the young ones a song to sing in each by lane.

City Forward was produced with the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a mobile laboratory traveling around the world to inspire innovative ideas for urban life. The Lab was open from June 15 through July 29, in Berlin, Germany. Sign up to receive the latest news and get involved as the BMW Guggenheim Lab travels to Mumbai this fall. To get the latest news and updates on Twitter, follow @BMWGuggLab and join the conversation via #BGLab.

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